Foreign interference in the American political system was among the gravest dangers feared by the Founders of our nation and the framers of our Constitution.  The United States was a new government, and one that was vulnerable to manipulation by the great and wealthy world powers (which then, as now, included Russia).  One common tactic that foreign sovereigns, and their agents, used to influence our officials was to give them gifts, money, and other things of value.  In response to this practice, and the self-evident threat it represents, the framers included in the Constitution the Emoluments Clause of Article I, Section 9.  It prohibits any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States]” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”  Only explicit congressional consent validates such exchanges.

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